Santorum Upset By Michigan Delegate Decision

fromMR

The presidential campaign of Rick Santorum is fuming over a decision by Michigan's Republican Party to give both the state's at-large delegates to state-wide winner Mitt Romney. Earlier guidance from the state party suggested that the two delegates would be allocated proportionally.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And in Michigan, there's a fight going on over one delegate to the Republican National Convention. Rick Santorum's campaign team says its candidate is a victim of, quote, thuggery. They accuse Michigan Republican leaders of engineering an after-the-fact rules change to give Mitt Romney a slim lead in delegates from last Tuesday's state primary.

We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

RICK PLUTA, BYLINE: Rick Santorum's campaign says the plot was designed to ensure Mitt Romney did not suffer the humiliation of a tie in delegates from the state where he was born and raised. Tuesday's primary vote was very, very close, but the party still awarded Romney both the state's at-large delegates instead of granting one apiece to each candidate.

JOHN BRABENDER: This is nothing short of shocking.

PLUTA: John Brabender is a senior Santorum adviser. He says one delegate out of the more than 2,200 headed to Tampa is not the issue.

BRABENDER: I think people need to get to the bottom line and know exactly what happened, when it happened, why it happened.

PLUTA: Matt Frendewey, of the Michigan Republican Party, says there was a miscommunication after the state GOP changed its rules a month ago.

MATT FRENDEWEY: There's no backdoor deals. There's no, you know, smoke-filled rooms, as some people may allege.

PLUTA: But another top party official says otherwise. Mike Cox is a former state attorney general and a Romney supporter. He says the state GOP did change the rules, and it was wrong.

MIKE COX: It does kind of resound of third-world countries.

PLUTA: The Santorum campaign says it will ask the Republican National Committee to investigate.

For NPR News, I'm Rick Pluta in Lansing, Michigan.

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